Remembering What America Could Be — A Guest Rant

Hello, Everyone.  It is I, The IdealisticRebel’s Sister, and I have taken over the keyboard today to share a few thoughts.

Okay, rants.


For those of you who are not aware, I turned fifty several months ago, so when I say I remember a different America, I mean that I grew up in a different America.


In the America I grew up in, anger resulted in shouting, fist-fights and, occasionally law suits.  It did not end up in bullet-ridden bodies on the street corner, in the living room or the movie theatre.


I grew up in an America where we played outside till the lights came on, and no one worried we were going to be grabbed and shoved into a van and sold into slavery.  Strange cars in the neighborhood were first waved at, then greeted by a crowd of teenagers watching closely if they seemed suspicious.  Because those teenagers might be picking on you, but you were somebody’s little sister or little brother or younger cousin, and nobody got to mess with you but them!


I grew up in an America where my Mom worked full-time, raising three kids.  I came home to an empty house after school, and called my Mom the SECOND I got through the door, or I got what-for when she had to call me.  I heated up the dinner Mom had pre-made for the two of us, after my siblings went to college, and Mom and I ate together and shared our days and our plans for the week or the weekend.  Weekends, my siblings (sometimes) came home and we all ate together and yelled together and played together and ignored each other.  There was no father in our house (ours was the first household in school to have that ugly seven-letter word:  D-I-V-O-R-C-E).  My father, in fact, moved to Canada and, if I was lucky, I saw him twice a year.  My siblings often saw him less.

And none of us ended up on drugs, or got in bar fights, or beat our partners, or bought a gun and shot some stranger who reminded us of our parents.  We actually ended up as reasonably well-adjusted adults.  Perfect?  Not even close!  Dysfunctional together?  You bet!  But, push comes to shove, loving and caring and compassionate people who, each in our own way, do our best for those around us and the world.


There is no one who needs to tell me what it’s like to come from a broken home; to come home to an empty house day after day; to not have friends to play with because my family was different (I did mention:  the FIRST divorce, didn’t I?)  I was there.  I lived it, I felt it.


I was (very minorly) bullied in school, picked on by the ‘cool kids’, made to eat my lunch alone (because the ‘cool kids’ would ostracize anyone who sat with me), but I learned to cope, and to be happy in my own company and it never occurred to me — nor to anyone else I knew — to walk into my school and blow all my classmates away.


When did we become a country whose knee-jerk response is to shoot first and not ask questions, ever?


I’m not saying that we need to back to the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s.  Go back to the time when blacks sat in the back of the bus?  When it was legal to hit a woman?  No, thank you.


But there has to be something between that and THIS.  Something between “you’re different, so I’m going to force you to stay away from me” and “you’re different so I’m going to blow your head off.”


I don’t know what the answer is.  When I was a child, I might have said religion.  But now, in a world where religion is an excuse to blow up synagogues and mosques and churches; where churches teach that anyone who believes differently will go to hell; where church groups picket the funerals of people who, in life, did or were something these narrow-minded people feel is ‘evil’?   I can’t believe THAT kind of religion — any kind of extremist religion, and it seems that, increasingly, that’s the predominant mentality of religious groups these days — is the answer.


I don’t know what the answer is.  When I was a child, I might have said the law.  But the lawmakers are trying to overturn basic human rights, and fighting granting rights to anyone different from them.  So I don’t know that the law is the answer (although, it’s getting better:  Thank you, SCOTUS; Thank you, POTUS).


I don’t know what the answer is.  Now that I’m an adult, though, I think the answer is more simple than I imagined as a child:  I think the answer might — just might — be US.  Each one of us, putting aside our differences to look for the commonalities; checking our prejudices at the door and actually LISTENING to the other side, without anger or vitriol; without judgement or censure; with open minds and open hearts and a genuine desire to make the world and each other better.


I don’t know what the answer is.


Do you?





Sensitive Egos

Last night was the first Republican debate. It seems to have been more a show for Trump and his very sensitive ego than an honest and real look at the issues that are at the forefront of American politics today.


For instance, the War on Women. Trump voiced how picked upon when he was questioned about derogatory remarks he has made about women. He seems to feel strongly about the way women look. Perhaps, if elected, God forbid, he would want research started so that all female babies were beautiful and stupid. Yes, I am jesting but when he calls women animals, ugly or other insults, he is not jesting. He is showing us one of the parts of his personality. A dark section of his personality.


He complained that the female moderator was asking him inappropriate questions.  Is character not appropriate in a Presidential campaign?  Is that not one of the things we elect our leaders for:  ideas and leadership ability, certainly, but what is that but a part of character?


I guess that Trump is a man who is used to, and requires, gentle care.  His choice of words, not just in this instance, but in many public appearances before and after he announced his candidacy, is often vulgar and inflammatory.  Even his re-tweets show questionable judgment.  Is this someone whom the American People can trust on the international stage? Is this someone who will meet opposition with a considered, measure response, designed to keep the United States and its citizens safe?  Or is this someone who will, as his history shows, respond to opposition with an off-the-cuff, possibly offensive comment which will show Americans in our worst light, possibly causing an international incident which could lead to war?

Can we, as Americans, take that chance?


As most all of you know, I am a Liberal, although in my lifetime I have voted for Republicans who deserve to be in office.  I think it is very important that the man or woman that we elect to head the free world, as it is said, be someone who has the sort of temperament, the education; the finesse and the diplomacy to speak to international leaders about serious and controversial issues, without losing his temper or insulting people.


I don’t want the world to go back to thinking of us as Ugly Americans.  In the 60’s, there was a best selling book called The Ugly Americans, which I read in my AP Literature class.  I was horrified that we were perceived in this light.  We need someone in the White House who is respectable, who is capable of diplomacy and tact; someone who can be open and honest without insulting various sectors of our population.


I’m not talking about “Political Correctness”, that supposed bane of Mr. Trump. I am talking about having the decency to treat other human beings with the respect that we all deserve, by the simple virtue of being human beings.  I’m talking about showing them compassion, gentleness, and kindness, and respecting their opinions as valid, though they may differ from his own.


One of the most important things an American citizen has the right and responsibility to do is to Vote.  Whom you choose to vote for is private and personal.  But consider, before you cast your ballot, that whomever you elect is going to represent America to the world for four solid years.


Do we want War or Peace?  Do we want to continue to marginalize our own citizens?


We should not be afraid of open, honest debate and discussion.  It is when well-to-do, educated Americans who have dedicated themselves to a candidacy begin to denigrate each other and the people they meet that we begin to denigrate America in general.  Candidates, all candidates at every level of government, need to finally put aside the mudslinging tactics and face the issues head on, with decency, honesty and a respect for the views of others’, as they will be expected to treat heads of state if they are elected.


Flag unfurled by vets

Let American be a Symbol of the Best in Human Nature



Family TIme Under the Sea

This weekend, my Sister, Son, Daughter-in-law and Grandson went the Cleveland Aquarium.


We had a wonderful time, watching the sea creatures (and a couple of land creatures) and remembering the importance of other species in our world.


Watching my grandson, and all the other children (and grown-ups) learning new things, exploring a new world was both exhilarating and oddly peaceful, as was walking under sharks and other fish through a huge plexiglass tube running through the aquarium.  It was amazing to see sharks and barracuda going right over your head.  It was also dizzying and little weird, but one of the most incredible experiences.


Here’s a small view of what we experienced.





Sandtiger Shark - Cleveland Aquarium - Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015

Sandtiger Shark – Cleveland Aquarium – Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


Sea Anemone - Cleveland Aquarium - Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015

Sea Anemone – Cleveland Aquarium – Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


Sunburst Starfish - Cleveland Aquarium - Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015

Sunburst Starfish – Cleveland Aquarium – Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


Starfish - Cleveland Aquarium - Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015

Starfish – Cleveland Aquarium – Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


Cleveland Aquarium - Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015

Cleveland Aquarium – Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


Snowflake Eel with Coral - Cleveland Aquarium - Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015

Snowflake Eel with Coral – Cleveland Aquarium – Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


Tortoises - Cleveland Aquarium - Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015

Tortoises – Cleveland Aquarium – Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015

Everyday Struggles

All people face struggles everyday, from the simple to the complicated, no matter who we are, or what our lifestyle is, and we all try to face our own burdens with dignity. This is a call to do what you can to assist the people struggling around you. You can be someone’s hero or heroine.

This video by Shannon Curtis shares some of what we all face.

What are you facing and how can sharing your own difficulty help other people face theirs?  It’s something to think about. Everytime you assist another human being, you are bringing peace to the world.






This beautiful music video from Shannon Curtis highlights some of the struggles many of us face every single day. You don’t need the sound to read the words on the screen, but if you can turn it up, it’s pretty powerful.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Life is Important

A few days ago, I posted a piece about ISIS deliberately impregnated a nine year old girl. This little girl experienced rape and trauma to her little body. Today, ISIS is surrounding another Iraqi city. I want to thank you all for your comments on my initial post. Please add your prayers to your comments.


There are many people in the world who have lost their respect for human life. All life is created by Divinity. All life, human or otherwise, is precious and does not deserve ill-treatment. Impregnating a woman or a girl is power and control. It is humiliating the female and wanting her family to shun her. This is a way to destroy the life of the female and to devastate her family. It also raises a new generation that would be damaged emotionally by the circumstances of their lives and families.


Now that ISIS is surrounding another Iraqi city, the city may collapse. If it does, there are thousands of lives at risk. Men and women captured and tortured and possibly killed as so many others have been. Women and girls raped or gang raped. Why? Because they are different, they call their God a different name.


Yet, down through history, the different names of a Divine Being have separated human beings from each other. These Divine Names are the reason for wars, atrocities, rapes, and mass murders. Hundreds of humans have died throughout the centuries because civilizations and countries have at times lost their respect for human life. WWII is one example. Millions of people were killed because of who they were but also because of who and what they weren’t.


For people to rape and impregnate children, there is a disconnect between their minds and their emotions. Many are psychopaths and feel no emotion. Not just people in ISIS but even some American citizens. The elderly have no use or meaning to these people and neither do women of any age. A world where life has no meaning is a terrifying and devastating place for us to be in.


Life is important. It has meaning that many don’t want to acknowledge. The meaning of life carries us to kindness, compassion, love and joy. These attributes carry us to peace. A lack of these attributes carries us to war. What is war good for?  NOTHING.

Beginning Today

Poems of Praise

Beloved is the One Who spoke and all things came to be!

Beloved are You!
Beloved is the One who created

all in the beginning!
Beloved is the One Who speaks and acts!

Beloved, Who determines and fulfills!


Beloved, Who deals kindly with the world!

Beloved, Who acts kindly towards all creatures!


Beloved, Who responds with good to those in awe!

Beloved, Who removes the dark and brings the light!


Beloved is the One Who lives eternally.

Beloved, Who delivers and redeems!  Beloved are You and Your name!


Iris and Rhody

Blue Iris – Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015



Starting today….

I will open my mind and heart to others in need.

I will try my hardest to do my best.

I will make new friends.

I will take the advice I get from those who care.

I must learn to be myself, and love myself.

I will listen to more music and write more music.

I will try to make somebody’s day a little bit better.

I will have fun!

I can express myself.

I will write about my feelings.

I will reflect on the past.

I will look towards the future because it is coming soon.


Today is the day I will begin

I will continue to smile.

I will dream about tomorrow.

I will challenge myself.

I shall travel to new places and see new things.


I will do more good deeds.

You see, these are the things

I hope for so much.

I will live; I will love; I will learn;

and I will pray.


–Andrea Levick





Rainbow – Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015




Wishing everyone a Peaceful and Harmonious Weekend




My Dream

I have a dream, a dream of peace. My dream is a world without borders between countries. Mother Earth would be one endless landscape where all are welcome and appreciated. My world would have new priorities. People would see themselves in others and therefore would not work to hurt or disparage others.


Resources would be willingly shared with all no matter what they look like or who they love. I dream that the homo sapiens would face challenges in our world together. No one looking to be more or have more than other people.


I dream of a world where communities are not deliberately fragmented. No one must do without because it is inconceivable not to share. It matters to each of us that we all have what we need to thrive and enjoy success.


As I watched the mountains turn a little more green each day, I was mesmerized by all the shades of green and the light. It shimmered and shined across the mountains. The peacefulness was healing and inspiring. Each day, a different kind of tree began to bloom. From the bottom of my heart, I was filled with gratitude for being able to watch life come out of its long winter sleep. There were many people around me who were sharing the same experience. A smile here, a nod there and we knew that we were filled with gratitude and love for our planet.


Mother Earth was a gift given to humans from the Universe. Each blade of grass, each leaf on trees and shrubs, each floral scent carried on the wind is a boon for our lives. Life is precious and it is found everywhere. We are charged to take care of each other and what we have been given. It is up to us to love and care for everyone. It is up to us to care for everything in our world. We need to be responsible.


“Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day—

and to her soil: rich, rare, and sweet

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing light-changing leaf

and fine root-hairs; standing still through the wind

and rain; their dance is in the flowing spiral grain

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and the silent

Owl at dawn. Breath of our song

clear spirit breeze

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers and sisters, teaching secrets,

freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk,

self-complete, brave and aware

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Water; clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers,

holding or releasing, streaming through all

our bodies salty seas

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to the Sun, blinding pulsing light through

trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where

bears and snakes sleep-he who wakes us-

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to the Great Sky

who holds billions of stars–and goes yet beyond that-

beyond all powers, and thoughts

and yet is within us-

Grandfather Space. The Mind is his Wife.

so be it.

—Gary Snyder (after a Mohawk prayer)






Mountain stream Photographed and copyrighted 2015

Mountain stream
Photographed and copyrighted 2015



Blue Ridge Mountains Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2015

Blue Ridge Mountains
Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2015